Throughout history we, as a Jewish people, have faced persecution, oppression, violence and enslavement. It is because of this history that we find it so important to celebrate our freedom in the times when we have found liberation, safety and prosperity. Coming together for the Passover seder, we retell our eternal Jewish story and commemorate our Exodus from slavery to freedom.
As we imagine ourselves as slaves fleeing Egypt, we are practicing empathy. Not just empathy for our ancestors, but for all those who, in this time, do not share our rights and freedoms.
J Street has compiled this haggadah to apply the themes and lessons of the Passover seder to what it means — in 2020 — to be pro-Israel, pro-peace and anti-occupation. What questions do we need to ask about our power, responsibility and obligations, and about the oppression faced by others? What steps can we take to make the most of our own freedom and help others toward theirs? The haggadah gives us the opportunity to share how we can fight to ensure that Israel flourishes as a secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people, and that Palestinians are able to achieve self-determination and independence in a state of their own. It reminds us that, as long as others are suffering, our own celebratory glasses of wine are never full to the brim. This haggadah includes pieces written by friends and clergy. You can use the entire haggadah or pick out particular sections to add to your seders — whether in-person or virtual. As the seder is one long question and answer session, we hope you’ll feel inspired to ask meaningful questions — and to listen closely to each other’s answers.